Text Size

Current Size: 100%

Save our buses

Fair Fares Now

Roads to Nowhere

A fair deal for e-bikes

Bridget Fox's picture
E-bikes photo courtesy of Electric Bikes Sussex.

The Government's Office of Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) gives grants for converting to electric cars and vans - but not to electric bikes.  We think that's a missed opportunity. 

We're calling on the Government to change the rules, and extend the scope of OLEV grants to include e-bikes and e-cargo bikes. 

Photo courtesy of Electric Bikes Sussex.

Converting from petrol and diesel motors to low emission vehicles, including electric cars, is an important part of cutting carbon emissions and cleaning up air pollution. So is switching to using electric bikes. E-bikes and e-cargo bikes for deliveries help cut congestion and relieve demand for parking too. 

The Government's Office of Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) gives grants for converting to electric cars and vans - but not to electric bikes.  We think that's a missed opportunity.

Back in 2015, the Government funded a one-off pot of £700k for electric bike share schemes in some local authority areas. This is welcome investment, but only a fraction of the £900 million OLEV budget.

We're calling on the Government to change the rules, and extend the scope of OLEV grants to include e-bikes and e-cargo bikes. 

Supporting e-bikes is in line with Government policy.  The Government's Cycling & Walking Investment Strategy praises the positive role that cycling brings for public health, local business support and air quality, and sets the aim to double cycling activity by 2025. 

E-bikes and e-cargo bikes would be good value for public money.  E-bikes on average cost around £2000: much cheaper than the average £30k cost of an electric car, yet still expensive enough for grants to make a reall difference to takeup - particularly for small businesses and bike share schemes.  And their carbon impact is much lower. 

E-cargo bikes are good for business as well as the environment: major courier firm DHL uses them in Germany and the Netherlands as a smart alternative to vans. For smaller firms in the UK to benefit, the OLEV grants could be crucial. 

There's clear evidence that when people have access to e-bikes, the take-up levels are high. It's not just about getting people cycling: research into the impact of e-bikes shows they can be a real alternative to car use.

In one scheme in Chambery, France, where people were given grants towards the purchase of e-bikes, over 1,000 took part. Of these, 80% said they would not have bought the e-bike without the grant. 85% were former car drivers: thanks to this scheme, they have travelled around 745,000 miles a year by e-bike that would otherwise have been by car. 

Why ask now? 

The legislative programme outlined in the 2017 Queen's Speech included plans for an  Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill. That could be the ideal opportunity for MPs to take action and include e-bikes and e-cargo bikes in the scope of OLEV grants.

If you agree, please take five minutes to write to your MP.  Our e-bikes campaign makes it quick and easy to express your support. 

And if you have examples of how e-bikes or e-cargo bikes have helped change your journeys for the better, we'd love to hear from you.

--------------

Find out more:

Related